The Lion King Panel at D23 Expo: Hakuna Matata + More! #D23Expo
Disclosure: This event and trip to LA was an all expense paid journey sponsored by Disney. All thoughts, experiences and opinions are 100% my own!
One of the true thrills for me (one of many) of attending D23 Expo in Anaheim a couple of weeks ago was attending The Lion King panel which was held mostly in celebration of the fact that The Lion King will be joining the Walt Disney Signature Collection on Digital TODAY (Aug. 15th) and on Blu-ray™ Aug. 29th. This is only the fifth movie to join the Walt Disney Signature Collection, and of course, it also happens to be one of the all time most treasured Disney movies.
Attending this panel felt like taking a step back in time. Many of the original Lion King voice actors shared with us their journey with this amazing Disney film. The passage of time is something that I think of often when I attend Disney events, as I often have the opportunity to meet the people behind the scenes and these inside peeks often show what things were then, and how they are now. Seeing so many of these original team members on stage was so fantastic. Here are just a few of my favorite moments from the panel:
In this clip actor Jim Cummings Recording the Voice of Hyena Ed from Disney’s Lion King.
Here’s a clip of Cummings in the recording booth years ago:
Isn’t that amazing? He also shared with us some of his other voices including Winnie the Pooh and Tigger!
Also on stage was Ernie Sabella (voice of Pumbaa). He too was hilarious as he shared with us his Pumbaa voice, and memories of making The Lion King. It was so neat to see them all on stage together talking about the making of this film and how much it means to them.
Here’s a fun peek at Disney’s Lion King Director Rob Minkoff, Ernie Sabella and Don Hahn (producer) reenacting how the hilarious Timon & Pumbaa’s luau scene in The Lion King came to be:
And a big surprise was that Whoopi Goldberg joined them on stage to celebrate her role as Shenzi the female hyena in The Lion King. The crowd went crazy when Goldberg joined the stage. We had just seen her receive her Disney Legends Award two days before, so it was really neat to see that she was still hanging out at D23 Expo and enjoying the festivities!
Finally, the closed the panel with a fantastic live performance of Elton John and Tim Rice’s famous song “The Circle of Life,” performed by Carmen Twillie, who also sang the song in the movie.
This was unreal to see in person, so vibrant and emotional. Just watching this video clip again gives me goosebumps! Here’s a short clip of the final moments of this performance: